Saudi Aramco, the national oil company of Saudi Arabia, on Sunday reported net income of $39.5 billion for the first quarter of 2022, a jump of around 80% from the same period a year earlier, reflecting largely the rise in oil prices.
Oil and natural gas prices have soared in recent months due to tight markets as pandemic conditions eased. After Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, sanctions reduced Russian oil production and heightened concerns about possible shortages.
Saudi Aramco is taking advantage of the general situation, reaping additional profits as energy prices rise. Over the past year, oil prices have almost doubled, with Brent at $111 a barrel on Friday, compared to around $60 in the spring of 2021.
Unlike Western counterparts like Shell and Exxon Mobil, which face shareholder demands to fight global warming, the Saudi company is almost entirely government-owned and faces little pressure to cut its production and carbon dioxide emissions.
In fact, Aramco, along with ADNOC, Abu Dhabi’s national oil company, calculates that it can profit from the pressure on Western companies.
“Amid heightened volatility in global markets, we remain focused on meeting global energy demand,” Aramco Chief Executive Amin H. Nasser said in a statement on Sunday.
“We are investing for the long term, expanding our oil and gas production capacity to meet expected demand growth,” Nasser added.
But as gasoline prices soared, contributing to higher inflation, Saudi Arabia largely ignored Washington’s demands to accelerate its phased production ramp-up program agreed with OPEC and other oil producers last summer.
The company said it would keep its dividend for the quarter unchanged at $18.8 billion. Most of the money will go to the government, which owns almost all of the shares in the company, which was listed on the Saudi Tadawul stock exchange in 2019.
As previously announced, Aramco awards one free share for every 10 shares.